MTV Unplugged: Live At The Roundhouse London
Scottish alt.rock heroes strip it back to the bone.
Most of us who came of age in thrall to grunge hold a special place in our hearts for MTV Unplugged, so it’s no great stretch to imagine how Biffy Clyro felt when they were invited to record their own acoustic special. You can certainly hear the care and preparation that has gone into this live album, which, beautifully arranged and recorded, packs a punch despite being substantially more delicate than their usual fiery live show.
As is traditional, there’s a heartfelt cover reimagined in the headliner’s style, in this case God Only Knows
– a song so soaked in meaning for frontman Simon Neil that he has it tattooed on his chest – but it’s the band’s own material that shines, the warm harmonies from the fraternal rhythm section of drummer Ben and bassist James Johnston bolstered by a spontaneous choir from the audience.
Here, the trio have tamed their external wildness to reveal the beauty and soul at the core of it, and revived Unplugged in the process.